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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 6, 2013 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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thank you. >> yeah. i would second that add to my earlier comment. two things. we mainly stressed the negative things which are happening. the book also seeks to be encouraging and enlightening and inspiring both because many of the stories involve suffering. they also involve victory and faithfulness and inspiring. my comment about the sudan, that it with make a great deal of difference on the issues if we work hard and are focused. >> i totally agree. i also think it's important to remember that we can all make noise of some kind about these things. ..
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>> when it comes to persecution, it's really, really hard, and i think we can learn from them and how to mobilize ourselves in small wayings and in big ways. we can make a difference and work with the system we have, and we can pray, which is not to be taken lightly. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> next, the history of the compromise of 1850 brokered between the north and south by kentucky senator henry clay. the compromise collapsed ten years after the agreement and led to the south succession. he died march 28th, 2013 at the age of 91.
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this is about an hour. [applause] >> thank you for that gracious introduction, and i'm delight to be here at the opening of this commemoration of the civil war, and one of the reasons is i'm here to peddle a new book. [laughter] because this is the prelude to the civil war, and when you think about it, the compromise of 1850 prevented succession and civil war ten years before it actually happened. i'm personally convinced, although i can't prove it to you, that had the south seceded in 1850, they would have made good their independence.
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the united states would become the diss united states, and once you break it, you can break it and again and, and where we would be today? that's how important it was to work out a solution to the problem that seemed impossible to fix. slavery, the south, it's whole culture and life dependent on an institution that the north wanted to see eliminated, and it was a horror that's part the constitution of the united states. while meze men were able to work out agreements to prevent succession because so session
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would bring civil war, and civil war would mean a bloody contest, and in 1850, the south was well armed because they just came out of the mexican war. the north didn't really have as much to do, and they were, i think, have been militarily better prepared. look how long the civil war actually took, how long the south survived, how many victory ies thrrn, but the temperature years that the compromise of 1850 provided allowed the north to further industrialize itself so that it could maintain a sustained war
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and conflict and had the material and the people to put it on the field where the south, when they lost men couldn't replace them, and it gave the north ten years to find abraham long who could put the union back together after it had been split apart. that's -- that's what the compromise did. i think, today, the idea of compromise is back in vogue. we feel that imroms is -- compromise is the only way you can achieve any kind of success
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and benefit for the american people. you can't have one side shove down the throat of the other side what it wants to do and expect it to last because once the other side gets back into power and found to be, they'll shove it down the throats of the other side. look at the health care today. if the republicans win in november in the house of representatives as some suggest it might, i'm not saying it will, don't you think that one of the first things they'll do is change the health care or maybe even obliterate it because president obama will veto it.
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if they have a two-thirds vote, they can override, or they can wait until they have a president. that is no way to get things done, and that, fortunately, was what henry clay understood because a situation presented itself in 1850 in which the country having defeated mexico tore from mexico california, new mexico -- these present states -- arizona, wyoming, parts of colorado, utah, and then enormous tracks of land. in the south, having done so much to acquire that territory felt that it had a right to
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bring its slaves into that territory. slavery is protected under the constitution, and what makes the constitution so remarkable is that it is nothing more than a package of compromises. on almost everything. they disagree. you take any issue, there will be disagreement, and if one side imposes its will, it's not going to last. you have to get both sides to agree. how do you do that? henry clay argued that in the real compromise, there are no losers. everybody, every side has to feel that there is something that they are getting that they need, that they want, and in order to get that something,
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they have to agree to give the other side something that it wants. let me read you something that henry clay said about compromise. politics is not about ideological purity or moral self-righteousness. it is about governing. if politicians could not compromise, they could never govern effectively. all legislation, all government, all society is formed upon the principle of mew cheel concession. concession.
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politeness, wouldn't that be nice? [laughter] comedy, curtesy. nothing gets done unless there are compromises. when i wrote my biography of henry clay, i was beginning to call it "henry clay: the great compromiser" because that's the title he earned in his lifetime. he also earned the title "the great pacificator," but when i put that in my computer, it came back and said, "what"? [laughter] author who was a friend said don't use the word "compromiser" because the american people don't know what compromise means. they think it's about people who have no principles, who have no
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real understanding of government, who were ready to do anything to get along. gilbert and sullivan ridiculed it in the mercado. there's a little list of society offenders who might well be underground and who never would be missed like so and so and so who are of the compromising kind. compromise is not about surrendering your principles or your outives. it is about understanding how government works. in that if you offend somebody, they are going to come back. you got to go to them and say, for the good of the american people, we need to do this, this, and this.
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look, it's what's happening in congress today with the attempts of reforms of wall street, financial reform. they may be getting together. that's the way you have las lasting -- lasting achievement; otherwise, you will have conflict sooner or later. with what happened in the 1860s came out of this situation of the mexican war, and these southerners felt they had a right to bring their slaves, their property, and property is -- is dependent and supported in the constitution, and the northerners said, we don't want
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it there. it wasn't there in the mexican war. california was free. new mexico was free. why should we make it slaves? because the south said, as long as property is protected under the constitution, we can take our slaves there, only when the territory becomes a state, then they can say, well, we don't want slavery, and there won't be. there's no argument because the state has that right, but while their in the territory, it remains open, and the north said, the congress can change that. before the mexican war ended, a man by the name of david will mark introduced a resolution in the the house of
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representatives in which he said any territory acquired as a result of this war must be closed to slavery, and ablationists went even further, and they said, and the slave trade in the district of columbia has got to be ended. people come here, tourists, foreign dignitaries, and they see men and women and children bought and sold, what a horror that is. we have to stop it. you do said the southerners? we will use report tumes of georgia got up in the house of representatives, and said this is treating the south as though we are not part of the
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government, as though we have to do what you want us to do, and you don't recognize that our way of life would be jeopardized, so we will leave, and mississippi passed a resolution calling on all the southern states to meet in convention in nashville tennessee on the first monday of june 18 # 50, and they are setting up the machinery to take the south out of the union. think of it. how december -- desperate they were, and that's
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why we were really fortunate to have a map like henry clay in the house, in the senate, actually, didn't speak in the house, who had the vision and the determination and the love of this country to keep it together to try to work out a compromise knowing what you have to do is one for you and one for you and one and back and forth, and it's got to be important enough for both sides to say, okay, i'll do what i don't like in order to get what we both want. he worked. the poor man was in bad shape, and the mississippi resolution
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had really been inspired by john c. calhoun of north carolina. john c. calhoun said the north is constantly harrison. they don't understand what the situation is, and, therefore, the southern states need to come together and decide on a course of action. so the situation existed, and henry clay worked for weeks. it's not easy to find a solution. look, for example, on the relation between israel and palestine. do you think it can ever be resolved? it's one of those issues that
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seems impossible to end. clay said, "slavery in our time will never be ended." he had a recommendation of how he would go about it. he said, pick a date, doesn't matter what date it is, but pick one. let's say 1860 or 1850 # or 1855. anybody born after that date will automatically become free on reaching the age of 21. those born before that date will remain slaves until they die. this would be a slow, gradual elimination, and he didn't want
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the slaves, freed slaves, to remain in this country. he suggested that they be sent back to liberia where many of them did return, and the state today has people whose napes are washington, calhoun and such because clay thought that the blacks, if they remain this -- in this country will do what the white people have done to them. he was trying to be realistic, but at the same time, he had to work out some means getting past their crucial state, and the fact that the radicallings,
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certain radicals began arriving in nashville who blain -- planned to take, to recommend that each state secede from the union. again, imagine what that would have meant. it would have been tremendous, but it died in the senate where the south had greater strength, and they blocked it, and every session it was brought up again, and passed in the house and defeated in the senate, and one thing the southerners insisted on is if there is any mention of
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the proviso, we won't buy it, and so clay realized that's not the way to go. the one solution that some people approved was called popular sovereignty, which was congress shouldn't decide it in any way, but the people who lived in the district, they should decide whether they want slavery or not. in any of that, clay thought, if i can only keep any mention of that condition out of the
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compromise, the south might buy it, so he finally worked out eight resolutions, eight, one for you, one for euro, back and forth, and then on a cold, rainy, miserable night, this poor man who was dying of tuberculosis went to the home of daniel webster. webster had given such a wonderful speech back in the webster-hain debate. again, slavery, and you know which final comments were about, liberty and union, one inseparable, now and forever. you want liberty? you got to have union. you break this union, and your liberties won't mean a thing.
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liberty and union. clay thought, okay, do it again, get up and speak and tell the members that they must not secede. think what would have happened to this country, and he outlined his big proposals and webster listened. he marveled at what clay had done. you see, ladies and gentlemen, it takes leadership. it takes vision. if you haven't got it, you're no place. leadership. leadership means as speaker of the house, you are not the speaker of your own party. you're the speaker of the house, and that means both parties.
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i'm the historian of the house, and i have to be very nonpartisan and my office is there from both sides, and i hope -- [inaudible] [laughter] webster said i'll support it. he had a perfect horror of secession because he knew it would bring war, and war never solves or rarely solves any problem, so clay went back, and then in january, late january, 1850, he got up in the senate and outlinedded his proposals. california was to come in as a
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state. he didn't say whether it would be free state, slave state, or anything. he left it to popular sovereignty to decide that. new mexico would have a territorial status. in other words, california would skip the territorial states. why? california's population zoomed from 6,000 to over 80,000 to 90,000 practically overnight. why? they discovered gold in the sacramento valley, and people, namely people in the north, came out there to find it and take their share, so that was that. as for the slavery, the slave trade in dc. see, dc is controlled, and
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congress does have that authority, and he said it would be inexpedient to outlaw slavery in dc, one side, but it would be expedient to end the slave trade in dc. see the balance? for the south, now both new mexico and california would eventually be free, and the north, everybody knew that. what's the south going to get? a tougher fugitive slave law. slaves were constantly running away and getting help from
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northerners, and some northern states had laws that forbid its police to do anything about capturing those slaves and returning them to their owners. that had to be stopped so that webster's arguments on the slave trade, which northerners are going to hate, is the argument that daniel webster will get up and defend and say, this is the law. this is property. it's protected under the constitution. you have an obligation to follow the law. it's not up to you to decide which laws you will obey, and which you won't. we've been through that with the nullification controversy when south carolina said it nullified the tariff laws within its
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state. you can't do it. you can't pick and choose. and as far as all these recommendations were concerned, they were part of a package in combination. one depending on the other. the president, zachary taylor, wanted california to be admitted as a state, as a separate item, and clay was opposed. you, you break the link cartilage between all of them, you don't have any equal distribution. the problem would be that he could use his presidential veto
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to pick and choose of the legislations. i'll pick this one or this one. it all has to come together as one package, not necessarily as one bill, but you can't remove one and not the other, and a map by the name of henry foot got up and recommended that if -- that all the eight bills go to a special committee that would come back with a single bill, and henry clay opposed that. they have to be separate, but connected, not part of a whole because then you give to this -- the senators, a choice, the
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whole or nothing. where if they have separate votes, they can go to one and against another, and you have a better chance. he timely said, this is an omnibus bill that was recommendedded using the latest form -- recommended using the latest form of urban transportation, the omnibus. [laughter] it was an unfortunate turn, but that's what the bill was called, the omnibus bill, and the committee then included people like daniel webster and henry clay was the chairman, and he worked, not only on the people who supported compromise, but on those people who had opposeed who had reservations, whatever.
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that's what leadership does. in the meantime, john c. calhoun, who is a member of the senate, got up to speak. he was so ill, he would die in a few weeks, that he couldn't read his speech, and he gave it to john mason of virginia to read for him, and what he did was condemn the north for its constant harassment going back to the northwest ordnance where the area to the north was declared off limits for slavery, again and again and again, this government has been hostile to the interest of the south, and it needs to back off. i fear, he said, secession is
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inevidentble, and webster then got up, his famous march speech in which he said, i rise today to speak, not as a northern man, not as a massachusetts man, but as an american. hear me for my cause. he blame both sides for not recognizing the importance of reunion and doing everything that he could to maintain it. the outcome, of course, was inevitable. the bill was brought to the senate floor, and in the
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meantime, zachary taylor, on the 4th of july, came out of the -- when they were dedicating the washington monument that was going up, drank a lot of water, and vegetables, listened to a speech that is in the broiling heat of july, that went on for hours, and he timely rush back afterwards to the white house, drank more water, and proceeded to die within the next few days of typhoid, and that got rid of the president because the vice president, philmore, was a great supporter of the compromise, and a good friend of henry clay. clay and taylor never got along.
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when there's a clay that came to the white house, they said clay was the president. everybody paid attention to him, not to zachary taylor, who was really just a general. he didn't look like much except that he said when he was on a horse. [laughter] people were saying, you know, let secession come. we have a man, the president of the united states, who is a military general. he'll show us, the south. is that what you want? reduce it to a military conflict when the vote came in the senate, the whole package op nothing, it went down in defeat.
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henry clay collapsed in his seat. you gave the senators, it said, a choice, the whole thing or nothing. i can't approach, said one northerner, for a bill that includes the fugitive slave law. give me the right to pick and choose to favor california, new mexico, and the resolutions on the district of columbia, but i'll never vote for the fiewmg tiff slave owner. poor clay who was really -- he didn't have much time to live. he left to try to regain his health, and fortunately, the senator from illinois took over.
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he never approved the package deal because he said the package deal unites the enemies of compromise. what we need to do is to unite the friends of the union. he then proceeded to have each one of the bills reintroduced and passed. by the end of the summer, the compromise of 1850 #, and he admitted it was clay's compromise, those would be a resolution, it passed, and then it went to the house where they would argue. in fact, during the discussion,
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one man by the name of foot got up and blasted the senator from missouri, and benton took it just so long, and he got up, and started on poor foot, and foot kept backing up and backing up and backing up until his back was against the desk of the vice president, and then kept coming towards him and foot stuck his hand in his jacket and pulled out a pistol, and, of course, benton stopped dead in his tracks and said, shoot, you damn
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assassin, shoot. the other senators took it away. he said he was only trying to protect myself, but this was happening on the floor of the senate. it was worse for the way in the house where there were so many of them that there were fistfights, but they said if there had been they said if there had been an explosion, fistfights, but they said if there had been an explosion, it couldn't have been any worse. it ended in a melee. now, you see, the compromise had passed, and everybody recognized that the south would not secede. the men who attended the nashville convention argued in favor of secession, but decided to allow congress to decide the
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issue, and so they got the ning passed. the south didn't secede, and for ten years, the north prepared itself so that when it came again and hep ri clay was dead, and who did they have but james buchanan and philmore, and franklin pierce, all of those biggies. [laughter] as buchanan said, there is nothing i can do. they have a perfect right to secede. he should have done what an dry jackson did, threaten. i'll make a frog pond of your
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state and dispatch the soldiers, and then all of the sudden, they found abraham lincoln. it's incredible, two years experience in the house of representatives. he served in illinois, of course. who knew that this man would have the talent, would have the leadership, would have to do hard things, he did many unconstitutional things, and then went to the congress and said nothing i have done that you can't give me the authority to do because it had to be done in order to save the union, if to save the union, i have to free the slaves, i'll do that. if to save the union, i'll do
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that. i will do whatever it takes to save the union, and that's why i titled this new book, "henry clay: the compromise that savedded the union." so thank you very much. [applause] if you have any questions, i'll be glad to attempt a response. if you can use the microphones so everybody can hear the question. >> if the package of resolutions, if it didn't pass as a package and cherry picked what they liked, how did the
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compromise work? you said all the pieces have to fit together. on the later vote, how did it work? >> the problem is if you take one away, thefn the balance between what each section gets is thrown off, and that's been -- and then they won't accept it, so -- >> so when they revoted, they revoted and accepted all resolutions? >> it worked out that there were enough votes for each one of the resolutions to get them passed where the omnibus united the enemies of compromise, the separate bills united the people who wanted to save the union. >> thank you. >> sir? oh, i'm sorry. >> that's all right.
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that's all right. why did it fall, or how did it fall on clay to broker this compromise? what was it about him in the senate that led him to create the consensus that you talk about? >> i think this union was unique, and there was something about this country that he had such vision. he could foresee that it would be a powerful, industrialize nation and at one point he developed what he called "the american system" with tariffs to protect industry, there would be interim improvements in building
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roads and bridges and canals and such, and the central bank so that our currency and credit would be as strong as possible, and andrew jackson didn't -- you probably know -- vetoed the bank. we didn't have a central bank then until we got the federal reserve, and you need a central bank. a central bank really controls money, and sees to it that the money is good, and worth its value. ha-ha, okay? >> i know it's not a biggie, but i'm from new york, so you might be bias. >> can you tell? >> what's that? >> i'm from new york. >> you're from new york as well? okay. [laughter]
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fillmore, as you described, a is an important ingredient in the compromise, and yet you also don't seem to see much of him, and many historians, in particular, because of the signing of the fugitive slave law. and to what do you attribute the hero of the compromise where fillmore is almost disparaged for it because of the fugitive slave law. >> i'm not sure what you're asking. >> it seems like he's attacked for implementing henry clay's compromise, in particular, just because they focus on the one aspect of the fugitive slave law and seems like you're raving on henry clay so much, and rightly so, but philmore does not get much credit to the compromise or the enactment of it. >> true. i'm just centering it on henry
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clay because he's the man who came up with basic ideas. see, they all knew there were problems. one of the problems i did not mention that he solved was the texas border. texas and new mexico quarreled over their border. texas was going to send troops in. clay comes up with a proposal that if texas will back off and surrender any claim to new mexico territory, we'll pay texas' debt acquired before app an --
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annexation. so one acquires something -- the resolution. this is quite remarkable. if he could see how they were connected, you can't just deal with new mexico and say, all right, it will be territory. texas is going to say that part is mine, you got to get them to back off. how do you do that? nobody had the answer. this is what clay did. again, i'm not sure i'm answering your question, but -- >> oh, no -- >> it reminded me of something i wanted to mention in my talk and forgot. [laughter] >> excellent presentation. one of the comments that you said was that if the war had been fought ten years later, the south probably would have won.
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it's -- >> it didn't happen. >> right. >> that's my view. >> in part you said it was because the north industrialized so much in the intervening ten years. are you -- do you think the north deliberately got on some sort of -- >> no, it was just -- >> ser renne diptous? >> it was not process of developing. you know, they had the railroads, the industry, the men. it was one of the things that john c. calhoun complained about was more people go to the north instead of going to the south. well, that's not our problem. you know, that's the way things are. once the north continues its
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industrialization, it has the means of sustaining an army on the field 100,000 again and again and again. the south can't do that. the south doesn't have the railroads. the south doesn't have the depots. >> so do you think that -- >> they did. i mean, look how well they defended themselves. >> but do you think that the population as a whole thought the compromise was a permanent solution or just a short term? >> it's hard to say, but they knew that it prevented, at the time, because the feelings op -- on both sides had been so agitated. things quieted down, and everybody said we have passed into a crisis, and it's gone. they knew eventually it'll come
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back, and it did. one prophetic thing that was said, and i think it is true too, and foot said it, he said, if henry clay had been alive in 1860 #, there would have been no civil war. i think that's true. he would have found a solution, and what did they do? they came up with clay's old solutions, like the missouri compromise line, 36 # 30, slavery below, no slavery north of us. he knew that was -- that was a solution to a previous problem. it's not the same anymore, and so they went to war. yes, ma'am? >> could you speak to the relationship between steven
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douglass and henry clay. >> speak to what? >> the relationship between steven dug lass and henry clay. you didn't mention him, but he did the leg work. >> i'm sorry, the relationship between? >> steven douglass and henry clay. >> and? >> henry clay. >> oh. steven, by the way, in case i didn't mention it, is the man who then took over after clay left washington to go bathing up in rhode island. their relationship was perfectly -- it was not close. dougless disagreed with the omnibus solution and said so and walked away from it, but as soon as the omnibus went down to
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defeat, he jumps up and takes control and gets all of those bills passed so he deserves a great deal of credit for the compromise, and as such, he became a leading presidential candidate, and in 1860, he ran against abraham lincoln and lost. thank god. [laughter] sir? >> yeah, a couple quick questions. given clay's perspective on slavery, what was the relationship of abolition in congress, and second question is, quickly, i didn't quite understand how slavery in the district of columbia became part of the resolutions. i was under the impression that that issue was not settled until
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just prior to the emancipation proclamation. i was surprised to hear that that issue involving slavery in the district of columbia was part of the compromise legislation, so if you can elaborate on that, i'd appreciate it. >> well, clay said slavery in our time cannot be solved. for one thing, we had it too long, and what they had done, which i think is interesting, what they did year after year, decade after decade, even though it's not to their benefit, it is hard for them to give it up. in fact, it's impossible and another reason is there was so
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much money invested in slavery. in producing goods sold around the world. you know, you have to recognize the south has a real argument in that the government is not helping us. it's helping the north, but slavery is in our world, isn't it? what are you going to do? it reminds me again and again of what seems to be the impossible issues to the solution that face us today. iran, with a nuclear bomb, what
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are we going to do about that? attack it? no, i don't mean to create other problems. where am i? on this side. [laughter] >> could you go through the eight parts of the -- or at least those most germane and tell us what it was the anti-slavery gave up in the compromise and what it was the prosecession people gave up? >> well, i thought that's what my talk was all about. [laughter] >> but you didn't go into the details. >> huh? >> you didn't go into the details. >> read my book. [laughter] [applause] >> last question. >> okay. >> why was it that you think senator clay was all right to abandon the steps in 1820 #, and what about slavery changedded so
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much in the 30 # years. it seems, you know, was it not president lincoln's position to return and continue on with the compromise of 1820. >> back to the missouri compromise? >> yes yes, sir. >> and henry clay -- >> to complicate it -- >> again, a balance. a slave state, missouri, detaches itself to come in and balance that out. as far as the question of slavery in the territories, in the louisiana territory was reduced to that. cut it in half -- >> so what changed? >> the 3630 mind, and you had slavely that open -- slavery that opened up. it didn't say that you would
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have slavery. see, that became a problem that the southerners recognized is that the geography in some areas like new mexico was such that slavery would never exist there. they couldn't grow the cotton or the tobacco or the sugar that you need if you're going to have a big force of slaves to work it, and that -- they were working against what looked to be a loss for this country, that they would be reduced to a small area in the south. that was impossible for them to accept, especially if they felt that the government was doing what it could to help the north
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against the south. >> we're out of time, but thank you for coming. [applause] >> visit booktv.org to watch any programs you see here online. type the author or title in the page, and click "search" and you can share by clicking "share," and selecting the format. booktv streams op line 48 hours every weekend with top nonfiction authors. booktv.org. here's a look at the upcoming book fairs and festivals happening around the country. ..

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